An Amiga App Store

by Eric Schwartz
from the AmiTech Gazette, June 2011

It's been an exciting summer so far. The weather, specifically a hail-producing storm, hasn't been kind to our cars, or the trees in the back yard. If that wasn't enough, Saturday a deer came out of nowhere and bounced off the front of the house, knocking out a storm window (It's worth noting that I've never seen any deer in the local area previously in the near-forty years I've been alive.) I feel there's some kind of message or omen to be found here, but damned if I can tell what it is.

For once there actually has been some news in the Amiga area of things. For this month's meeting I will be demonstrating a few games designed to run in HTML5, which run in the OWB web browser on MorphOS. They may work in OWB for Amiga OS4 or AROS as well, but I'm not currently able to test them. Perhaps the highest-profile game available to play in this format (and for free) is iPhone juggernaut Angry Birds. I was able to get it running on OWB on my Pegasos, albeit without audio, and kinda slow (it's slow on my Linux laptop too). It is nice to have one more of those "big name" games available to play, even if it's through the abstraction of a web browser window.

Finally on this month's news parade, our friend Bill Panagouleas of DiscreetFX is working to go live with the web site "Project Metropolis," which tries to bring the "app store" model of software sales and distribution to the Amiga and Amiga-style systems. There's not much to see yet (though I have been asked to put together a mascot for the site), but at least there's some potential here. Looking on the optimistic side, something like this could conceivably improve the fortunes of the Amiga software market. It offers a central hub for customers to (hopefully conveniently) find and purchase the software they want, and offers programmers a means to sell and distribute their software, trading a small percentage for (again hopefully) a convenient sales venue and a greater customer base than going it alone. In a best case scenario, there might be more incentive to make more elaborate software comparable to the good old days. Even without the ideal situation, it should eventually become easier to get a wider variety of commercial Amiga-related software from a central point. I look forward to seeing where it goes, and respect DiscreetFX for putting forth the effort and investment.